Level One Bar + Arcade Opens in Heart of Over-the-Rhine

Posted on February 23, 2023 by sujvary

Old-school arcade bar will be a gamer’s paradise

CINCINNATI (February 23, 2023) –Level One Bar + Arcade is set to officially open its doors to the public this Friday at 1331 Walnut Street in Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC)’s Mercer Commons project. Level One signed a lease for the 4,595 square-foot space in late summer 2022 and spent the last six months building out the new space. Originating in Columbus, this is the arcade bar’s second location.

Level One’s lineup includes pinball machines and old-school arcade games, some of which come from owner Paul Burkhart’s original collection, which he has been curating for approximately 25 years. There are over 50 games, a dozen pinball machines, and two skeeball lanes set up and ready for patrons in the new Level One location. In addition to many of the classics, Level One will have a handful of rare titles on the floor that will rotate throughout the year. It will also maintain a number of multi-player games that feature a 4-player track and field to encourage socializing and friendly competition. Gameplay will be free, with the exception of the pinball machines and skeeball.

“I love hearing the excitement of people when they see a game they remember from their past,” Burkhart said. “Level One is one of my fondest childhood memories come to life and I’m excited to share it with Cincinnati.”

In addition to being an avid pinballer, Burkhart has an appreciation for craft beer. Level One will feature two dozen local beers on tap. Themed cocktails will be available, including drinks named after classic video games such as Pong, Frogger, Tapper, and Galaga. While there will be no food served at Level One, Burkhart will encourage patrons to support other businesses in the neighborhood by ordering takeout from local restaurants and vendors to enjoy between arcade rounds. The arcade bar also hopes to partner with local establishments to streamline the process for customers to order food and have it delivered to Level One, implementing a system that is already operating in the Columbus location.

“We’re excited to be activating this corner in OTR with a concept like Level One,” said Lindzie Gunnels, Commercial Leasing Manager with 3CDC. “It’s always great to partner with an operator like Paul Burkhart, whose love of classic arcade games really comes through. That passion elevates the space for all patrons, but especially those who share an affinity for gaming.”

Level One’s business hours will be Monday-Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight, Friday from 4 p.m. to 2:30 a.m., Saturday from noon to 2:30 a.m. and Sunday from noon to midnight. It will also hold “mini-me” days once a month where adults can bring their kids to experience the games that their parents played when they grew up and will feature popular games, including Ms. Pacman, Donkey Kong, and Qbert.

Mercer Commons is a multi-phase, mixed-use development along the 1200-1400 blocks of Vine and Walnut streets that was completed in 2016. Combined, all three phases of Mercer Commons yielded 67 mixed-income apartments (30 of which are affordable units), 23 condominiums, five townhomes, a 340-space parking garage and 14,500 square feet of commercial space. Level One joins Mercer Commons tenants Five on Vine, Unity Visual Solutions, Commas, Community Barbershop, and Oasis Face Bar.

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